Ban on Single-Use Carryout Bags:
Reusable Carryout Bags:
A "reusable carryout bag" must be:
Ban on Polystyrene Foam Food Service Products:
The following products are exempt until May 4, 2024 unless otherwise extended by the DEP:
Requirements for Single-use Plastic Straws:
Penalties for Non-compliance and Enforcement:
The plastic and paper single-use carryout bag ban has many requirements and some exceptions. In general, the law prohibits all Stores, Food Service Businesses, and Grocery Stores from selling or providing their customers with single use plastic carryout bags. In addition, Grocery Stores that occupy at least 2,500 square feet may not provide single-use paper carryout bags.
The single-use plastic bag ban applies to a "Store," "Food Service Business," & "Grocery Store." The single-use paper bag ban applies to a "Grocery Store." As defined by the law:
A "Grocery Store" is a self-service retail establishment that occupies at least 2,500 square feet and sells household foodstuffs for off-site consumption.
If you are uncertain whether a particular business meets the statutory definition of "Store," "Food Service Business," or "Grocery Store" after reviewing P.L. 2020, Chapter 117, we recommend that you consult the DEP's List of Establishments and Applicable Provisions.
There is no minimum thickness for a bag to be considered reusable. No single-use plastic carryout bags, regardless of the thickness of the plastic, are allowed to be provided or sold.
A reusable carryout bag is a bag that:
Yes, all reusable carryout bags must be capable of withstanding multiple washes while maintaining usefulness and integrity.
Yes, bags whereby the handles are part of the bag but are stitched together qualify as reusable carryout bags.
A minimum of 125 uses and capable of withstanding multiple washes while maintaining usefulness and integrity.
Yes. There is a set list of uses for plastic bags that are exempted from this law and are therefore allowed:
Yes, the DEP has the ability (by rule, regulation, or guidance) to determine additional exceptions to the definition of a reusable carryout bag. Please contact the DEP for further information.
There is no minimum recycled requirement for reusable carryout bags (or any included product) in this law. However, the use of recycled content in all allowable bags is encouraged.
No, there is no requirement for reusable carryout bags to be recyclable at this time, however as technology and markets progress for different products and materials, it is encouraged.
A pharmacy qualifies as a Store and may not provide or sell single-use plastic carryout bags to customers, unless the plastic carryout bag is used to carry prescription drugs (see Section 1.12 above). Pharmacies are permitted to sell or provide single use paper carryout bags.
Yes, the definition for reusable carryout bag only applies to the bags that stores and businesses are allowed to provide or sell to customers.
Yes, the law allows for the sale of packages of paper bags and lawn bags from all Stores and Grocery Stores.
The polystyrene foam food service products ban states that no person or food service business shall provide or offer for sale any polystyrene foam food service product or any food in a polystyrene foam food service product.
These exemptions will be in effect for two years from the ban's effective date, or until May 4, 2024. The law also allows the DEP to extend any of the polystyrene foam food service product exemptions referenced above for additional periods not to exceed one year. These extensions will only be considered upon receipt of written documentation that there is no cost-effective and readily available alternative for the item.
Any extended exemptions will automatically expire after one year, but the DEP may extend any such exemptions beyond one year upon receipt of further documentation as outlined in the paragraph above.
A waiver may be requested for a polystyrene foam food service product or food in a polystyrene foam food service product for a period not to exceed one year upon a determination that one of the following situations are met:
These waivers must be approved in writing by the DEP. Waivers may be extended by the DEP for periods not to exceed one year upon written documentation submitted on the forms prescribed by the DEP.
Waivers are different than exemptions. Exemptions are specific to the list in Section 2.3 above. Waivers can be requested for any polystyrene foam food service product or food in a polystyrene foam food service product if the criteria outlined in this section apply.
The "by request only" provision in the law for single use plastic straws becomes effective November 4, 2021.
Food service businesses may provide a single-use plastic straw to a customer only upon the request of the customer.
Nothing prohibits a store from selling packages of single-use plastic straws to customers or providing or selling a beverage pre-packaged by a manufacturer with a single-use plastic straw.
Yes, the "by request only" provision of the law for single-use plastic straws applies to all instances where a customer has the option of using or not using a single-use plastic straw.
Note: All food service business must still maintain an adequate supply of single-use plastic straws to provide at the request of customers.
The Department of Environmental Protection, municipalities, and any entity certified by the "County Environmental Health Act" have the authority to enforce the single-use plastic and paper carryout bag and polystyrene foam food service product provisions of the law.
The Department of Health enforces the plastic straw provision of the law.
A person or entity that violates the law shall be subject to a warning for the first offense, may be fined up to $1,000 per day for the second offense, and up to $5,000 per day for the third and subsequent offense. Violations of a continuing nature constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense for each day that is deemed a violation.
The new law supersedes and pre-empts all municipal and county rules, regulations, codes, or ordinances concerning the regulation or prohibition of single-use plastic or paper carryout bags, polystyrene foam food service products and single-use plastic straws. Every store or entity in New Jersey that is subject to the statewide law must comply with its requirements, regardless of where the store is located.
Please visit the New Jersey Business Action Center's (NJBAC) Vendor List at https://business.nj.gov/Vendors
The NJBAC assists businesses and will post updates to the law on the https://business.nj.gov website as they become available. There is a Live Chat "Ask Our NJ Business Experts" feature on this website that fields business questions. The Live Chat is available Monday-Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm.
The law provides funding to the New Jersey Clean Communities Council to develop a statewide education and outreach program, and to implement the limited distribution of free reusable carryout bags in New Jersey. For more information on these programs, visit: https://www.njclean.org.
General information about the law can be found at the following websites:
E-mail: email@example.com Phone: (609) 984-4250
A copy of the law can be found at https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/AL20/117_.HTM